Sacred Heart rides defense, beats Monmouth 24-21

The Associated Press

FAIRFIELD, Conn. (AP) -- Sacred Heart jumped out to an early lead and the defense held off a resurgent Monmouth offense, holding on for a 24-21 win on Saturday.

Sacred Heart (8-2, 2-2 Northeastern Conference) opened the scoring on a 4-yard run by RJ Noel with 10:37 left in the first quarter. Julian Hayes tied the game with a 58-yard touchdown run just over three minutes later before the Pioneers scored 17 unanswered points to take a 24-7 lead into halftime.

After Brandon Hill hit Thaddeus Richards for a 19-yard touchdown late in the third, Kwabena Asante's 2-yard score brought Monmouth (4-5) within three, 24-21, with 6:25 remaining.

The Sacred Heart defense stiffened, however, as Preston Sanford intercepted Hill three plays later and, following a Sacred Heart turnover, forced a four-and-out on the ensuing drive.

Kevin Sperduto paced the Sacred Heart defense with 11 tackles, three for a loss, including 1 1/2 sacks.

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